Covid-19 and the Rules of Golf

Here in Spain we have been allowed to play post lockdown golf since the 11th May 2020 BUT under the restrictions of the Covid-19 safety protocol.

By now we are all used to this new golfing normality, namely:

No physical greetings, wearing masks, no rakes in bunkers, water fountains out of play, no touching flags and stops in the holes to prevent the ball falling to the bottom of the hole, etc.

In the early days no competitions were allowed and it was advised to play social golf with gimmie putts inside 18” to prevent too many hands going into the hole therefore creating a potential infection point risk.

However since then the restriction have been lifted a little and it is now permitted to play competition golf but this in itself has brought about questions about the rules of golf and in particular when the ball is deemed to be holed.

Usually this is simple because the ball rests 6” down at the bottom of the hole and is clearly holed and has to be retrieved by the player but the current situation is somewhat different because the flag must remain in the hole and the stop in the hole allows the ball to fall less than the diameter of the golf ball and it is easy for the ball to fall into the hole but bounce ball out again.

This question has been raised in many golfing periodicals over recent months and unfortunately this is not good news for the unlucky golf because if a ball goes in down and then out of the hole it is not considered to be holed and will cost you another shot.

I guess that this may be considered unlucky but I guess in these difficult times we are lucky to be playing golf at all.